Five Best Practices That Increase Revenue Out of Indirect Sales
A channel program is an effective way to increase your capacity and expand market share. However, without putting resources behind enabling this avenue for revenue, you’ll likely do more harm than good. To garner the many benefits that come from a robust channel program, you need to put the time and resources into ensuring your channel sellers have the same understanding of your value and differentiation as your own field or inside sales teams.
This enablement comes from five clearly defined practices that we’ve seen produce bottom-line impact for high-powered sales organizations. They will likely help you too.
Here Are Our Five Steps to Success:
1. Ensure company message and partner sales message are consistent
The ability to drive consistency between the headquarters of your organization and the partner in supporting a customer’s buying process has never been more important. The plethora of digital content available means customers are seemingly more informed. They’re educating themselves about your offerings prior to any conversation with an actual salesperson. This situation creates a potential for missed opportunity if that partner is misaligned with your overall message.
It is your job as a sales leader to ensure you first have consistency on the four essential questions internally:
- What problems do you solve?
- How do you solve those problems?
- How do you solve them differently and/or better than the competition?
- What's your proof?
Seems like a simple statement however getting Channel Sales, Marketing, Product Marketing, etc. to all agree is not an easy task. These questions are simple, but the answers typically are not. Most companies don’t have alignment internally on these questions, let alone through their partner network. If you are not aligned as a company on those answers, how can you expect your partners to position your solutions correctly in the field?
2. Educate the partner community on the critical sales skills to be successful in today’s markets
Your partners won’t be successful in selling your solutions if they can’t effectively execute in front of the customer. We believe there are three critical sales skills every salesperson needs, including those in your channel organization.
What are the three critical sales skills every salesperson needs?
- Uncover customer needs by executing an effective discovery session
- Articulate value and differentiation in a way that has meaning to the buyer
- Position and negotiate value, preserving margin and avoiding price cuts.
Figure out a plan to ensure every person selling your solution has these three critical sales skills.
3. Implement and inspect with channel leadership adoption in the field
Remember, people do what you inspect, not expect. At the same time, ensuring that your Channel Leaders are driving enablement and adoption in the field will help drive greater success. Pre-Call Planning, creating discovery questions, role plays, participating in an outside in conversation with a buyer, etc. are all ways that will help increase transaction sizes across the board. Don’t just tell your channel managers what to do. Provide them with the how. Give them tools and processes that allow them to inspect the right behaviors and coach to success.
4. Arm partners with competitive intelligence to accelerate the sales process
How does your solution differ from the competition? How is that differentiation tied to what drives value for your buyer? Providing specific competitive information to your partners that outlines what about your solution is unique, comparative or holistically different about your solution as compared to alternative offerings.
5. Provide the channel with proof points that demonstrate your success
Customer testimonials are an asset to any sales conversation. Providing tangible points of reference on how your solution provides the results you promise strengthens your message. They’re also invaluable for the channel. You can talk about how you are better than your competitors all day long, but putting evidence behind those claims helps your potential buyers see the positive business outcomes they can achieve through your solutions.
Effective proof points speak to the priorities and the perspective of your customer. If you’re going to articulate to buyers how your solution is better than your competitors, you need to make sure your proof points are solidly in place.
More importantly, they need to be consumable for your channel partners to execute. If your solution saved another customer x% of revenue, then that’s valuable information for a channel partner to have. Develop a way for channel partners to easily tap into case studies, testimonial quotes and proof points for use in their own sales conversations.